U.S. House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn is under fire again as some members of Black America are unhappy with his stance that a song will unify America. Some have deemed Clyburn’s HR 301 bill – which proposes that the U.S. make “Lift Every Voice and Sing” its national hymn – as more empty symbolism.
During testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Clyburn made his case about why the bill should be passed. He tweeted out a clip of his testimony.
“’Lift Every Voice and Sing’ is a hymn that is so cherished by people of all faiths, creeds, backgrounds, and experiences, that I believe designating it as our ‘National Hymn’ would help unify our nation,” Clyburn tweeted.
“Our nation continues to struggle with the issues of race and equity. The threads of our fragile democracy are fraying; and as the people’s representatives, it is incumbent upon us to make every effort to heed [Benjamin] Franklin’s words of concern and his and Adams and Jefferson’s expression of unity,” Clyburn said in a video accompanying the tweet.
“It is our responsibility to demonstrate not only with our words but by our actions that we can and will keep this Republic intact and its people unified,” Clyburn continued.
“That is why I introduced HR 301 – to designate the iconic hymn, Lift Every Voice and Sing, the national hymn of the USA. Enshrining ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ as our national hymn will be once such … step forward,” Clyburn added. Then he explained the history of the song that has long been dubbed the Black National Anthem.
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Clyburn said he and others he knew were uncomfortable with the designation because there should only be one national anthem. However, he said it should be the national hymn.
It didn’t take long for the backlash to ensue on Twitter.
“These ppl are useless,” Twitter user @blackleftaf wrote. “They are useful but not to us,” user @freedomrideblog responded. “Clyburn gets more money from big pharma than any other member of Congress?”
“Absolutely useless. This is a prime example of Black visibility not meaning a god***n thing,” @PanAfriKeem chimed in.
“Absolutely, useless!” @ZakiyaChinyere agreed.
Others were more forceful in their criticism of Clyburn and called out the bill as another token of symbolism that makes no real progress.
“You are a sorry man. You will go down in history as one of the worse elected officials to represent American Descendants of Slavery. You have no shame, integrity, dignity, and you hate your own people,” @ados_strong wrote.
“These lying corrupt Dems switched the “Lift Every Voice Plan For Black America” into making the song a National Hymn,” @blackintheempir tweeted. “They might as well have put on kente cloth again and talked about that George Floyd Act that they made disappear No more symbolism, where’s the policies?”
“We as Black Americans want tangibles not symbolisms. Enough with the symbolisms and give us tangibles,” @ChrisF96 wrote.
Twitter user @yo_ag81 asked in a tweet, “@WhipClyburn where are tangible bills specifically for Foundational Black Americans? How does this help FBA.”
“How does this materially improve the lives of Black Americans?” @MisterGilmore echoed.
“How can you spend decades in office, and be aware of the problems facing black Americans this is the fight you want to start, making Lift Every Voice, a national anthem, after you ensured reparations for an indigenous tribe that owned black slaves? Do you have any shame,” user @Bohwe asked.
“Orrrrrrrr it could remain the BLACK NATIONAL ANTHEM…,” journalist and author Marc Lamont Hill tweeted.
“We don’t need a national hymn. We don’t have a national religion. We need national healthcare,” @ritaresarian wrote.